Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Martin Hennecke

Five virtual banks are put to the test
Five out of eight Hong Kong-licensed virtual banks have entered the test period through the Fintech Supervisory Sandbox while another two are now in the preparation stage, after ZA Bank became the first to launch virtual services. But there is not as yet any deadline for the other seven to launch their operations, said Edmond Lau, senior executive director of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. According to an HKMA report on the Hong Kong banking industry, more than 85 percent of institutions that were checked have adopted or plan to adopt fintech solutions across all types of financial services. But banks have also expressed concerns about a shortage of talent, citing difficulties in recruiting people and training existing practitioners. On that, Lau said the authority will provide material to assist with training programs. For mainland banks, EY suggested they should accelerate the digitalization of financial services. This came after the first-quarter net profit of 36 mainland-listed banks fell 2.35 percentage points from the same period in 2019. So EY thought this could be offset by banks providing customized services by using big data to analyze customer preferences.

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